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The Gorilla Hut

What is The Gorilla Hut? That was not the first question. We were just looking for work, and decided to follow a lead provided by Peter’s and Julia’s cousin, a guy who had been there for three months a year before us. We exchanged a couple of texts with this Damon person and he said he had arranged with an orchard for us to do some apple picking. The only thing we knew is that we had to take the “Tamahere” exit in between Cambridge and Hamilton. Still there we went!

We arrived at that time of the day when the sun casts no shadows. The backpackers sign meant nothing to the junkyard where a collection of what seemed abandoned vans and cars rested, lifeless, at sight. We got off our vehicle and a black labrador greeted us and started walking towards a shed. Being that it seemed the only reception we were meant to receive I followed him and we went through a door hidden in between two vans. There was a hallway, and to the right a precarious bathroom with a shower and two toilets. And suddenly I was inside. The what question arose at that very moment. For the several “extirpated” car seats arranged in a semicircular fashion around a small wooden table put imagination at task, but not more than the eight hundred stuffed monkeys hanging from the roof and clinging to the walls. There was also a bar, guitars, a drumkit, lots of DVD’s, a pool table and a table tennis table, bicycles, boots, a bow, a fridge, lots of empty beer bottles, and lots of interesting things just laying here or there. Behind me, above the door frame, the wall was painted and an inscription said: “The Gorilla Hut.”

I heard some chattering behind a plastic courtain. English accent. I went through it and there were two guys dressed in cakis and workboots: “Damon’s not home right now, but he knew you’ll be arriving any moment. So he should be back soon. Just get yourself comfortable mate.” And so we waited, but not for long because a couple of minutes later we heard a car parking outside.

The man, in his forties, walked towards us with a smile in his face and a big hand to be shaken. He showed us around and then took us through a field where a cow grazed peacefully and some piglets were feeding. We arrived then to the farm house. It was the place where everyone gathered to have dinner, a meal that Damon cared to cook every day, and also where we chose to sleep.

The house reflected the spirit of The Gorilla Hut. One could say it was messy, or even dirty, or that the owner had no respect whatsoever for order. It was what hell would look like for your mother. But I prefer the word chaotic. Chaos is what humans try to seize, try to control, it is also what we fear. We love to impose an order into a world we believe to be ours. We build monstrous cities where we feel protected and things make sense, we put names on things, we believe that there is a place and a purpose for everything.

So when you arrive in The Gorilla Hut, you feel something quite different. And you get a reminder that sometimes is better to “Let the chips fall where they may.” Sometimes you have to abandon yourself to the situation and enjoy the ride.

The apple picking work was not good. They paid $32 per bin and in one day you were lucky to fill two of those. The heat was overwhelming because of the drought. And last but not least, in apple picking it’s more difficult to talk to some co-worker since you take care of a row of trees and are constantly climbing up and down the ladder searching for the god forbidden fruits.

But nonetheless we chose to stay, because we had the chance to be in one amazing place.




Submitted by: Germán Distel
Date submitted: 26/05/2013 11:28:02 p.m.


Working as an apple packer in Motueka Mon May 9

Working for free accommodation in Wellington Thu Mar 24

From working holiday visa to a resident Thu Mar 24

From the big city to the field of kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

Working with Kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

The Christmas rush Mon Feb 29

Packing kiwifruit in Motueka Mon Feb 29

Asparagus picking Mon Feb 29

put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves and get out there Tue May 27

MY JOURNEY FROM $350/HR TO MIN WAGE: LOVING IT IN NEW ZEALAND Tue May 27

The Gorilla Hut Sun May 26

Working in sales in NZ Mon May 13

Life as an apple picker Mon May 13

Marahau Sun May 5

hanging nets at isabel vinyard Mon Mar 25

Farm stay Tue Feb 5

Berry-Picking and Ice-Cream Making Tue Dec 18

Vineyard Work in Blenheim Sun Nov 25

Working As A "Milkman" Sat Aug 4

Being an au-pair Thu Aug 2

Grape harvesting in Central Otago Thu Aug 2

Whenever Wed Jun 6

Picking up the oil in Tauranga Mon May 21

Onion grading Sat May 12

Omarama, Place of Light Tue Apr 3

Napier or the job war Sun Apr 1

Some helpful tips Wed Feb 29

Fruit picking in Central Otago Mon Feb 27

Some useful tips Thu Feb 16

Fruit picking in Motueka Wed Jan 18

Where Do We Go From Here Tue Dec 20

Picked it, Packed it, Buggered Off! Tue Dec 20

Seasonal jobs COULD change your very life as you know it Tue Dec 20

I work to live, I don’t live to work Mon Dec 19

I only had $100 to my name Sun Nov 20

Odd Jobs In Central Otago Sun Nov 20

Peach thinning working experience Sun Nov 20

The young vines were frosted over Sun Nov 20

The work found me Sun Nov 20

Working for Watties Factory Mon Oct 24

Working New Zealand from a different perspective Mon Oct 24

I had always been dreaming about coming to New Zealand Mon Oct 24

My first job in vineyards was stripping Mon Oct 24

My happiness was indescribable Tue Oct 18

Working in a Packhouse in Auckland Tue Oct 18

Working on a vineyard in Blenheim Tue Oct 18

Cycling in New Zealand not friendly Tue Oct 18

Fruit Picking Tips for New Zealand Mon Aug 22

Whale and Dolphin Watching Sat Aug 13

Cherry Picking in Central Otago Sat Aug 13

16 Argentinian people living there, it was awesome! Tue Jul 26

No one got payslips, really crazy Sat Jul 23

picked apples at first Sat Jul 23

In 18 months I have worked with kiwi fruits, apples, two epic ski seasons and a travelling carnival Sat Jul 23

cash-in-hand odd jobs Sat Jul 23

A rugby team we’ve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Let’s go teasing them! Sat Jul 23

Talking to strangers about charity Sat Jul 23

Fresh out of college Sat Jul 23

Working trees for $350 per week Sat Jul 23

German Windsurf Instructor in New Zealand Sun Jul 17

Vineyard work in South Island New Zealand Sun Jul 17

We had idea, get visa, sell everything and just go to New Zealand Sun Jul 17

6 MONTHS AS A NANNY IN WAIMAI Sun Jul 17

Wilding Pines Sun Jul 17

boss was very nice and friendly Sun May 8

Vintage in Central Otago - Working in the Wine Industry Sun May 8

Mr Apple packhouse experience Mon May 2

North Island Notes Wed Apr 20

Fruitpicking in Napier Wed Apr 20

blueberry harvest season Thu Apr 7

bbq on the beach and if you lucky see some Dolphis too Thu Apr 7

Mate! You are on fire!! Sun Mar 20

The real vineyard work lowdown Fri Mar 11

I had pretty much run out of cash Wed Mar 9

The Land of New Zealand Mon Feb 28

Work in backpackers in exchange for accommodation Sat Feb 26

heard cattle on motorbikes Fri Feb 18

Traditional Maori hangi Thu Feb 17

Fortune Fruit and spitting cherry pits competitions Tue Feb 15

When I got to Whangamata... Sat Feb 12

I could romanticize it… Tue Dec 7

I thought it sounded interesting Tue Dec 7

My New Zealand adventure :) Wed Nov 3

Well I am from Mexico... Mon Oct 25

~New Zealand has no bandits and the relaxed lifestyle is second to none~ Fri May 14

New Zealand's got cheap banks!! Mon Apr 26

Tips from Latvia...yes not Russia ;) Tue Mar 16

First Job Thinning Apples... Mon Mar 1

Damn recession! Wed Feb 10

Loving New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

From aircrafts to vineyard work in New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

A Czech in New Zealand.. Fri Feb 5

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